Beaches and berries practically put Bridgman on the map.
George C. Bridgman, who platted the town, first came to the area to open a sawmill. After his sawmill was destroyed by fire three times, he decided to switch gears instead of rebuilding again. He put down roots and started a farm, growing berries, fruit trees and grapes.
At the time, the market for fruit was entirely local. But that changed when Bridgman granted the railroad right-of-way through his land in exchange for building a train depot. The nursery business took off when a local grower placed an ad in an East Coast farm journal and started taking orders for strawberry and cane plants. The mail order nursery business became a million-dollar industry in the community; wholesale nurseries continue to thrive in the area today.
The area’s Weko Beach became a popular destination in the 1920s with a waterfront pavilion featuring dinner, dancing and music. The city later purchased and renovated the pavilion, now known as the Beach House.
Weko Beach continues to be a popular attraction along the shores of Lake Michigan and the Warren Dunes State Park. Visitors can walk along nearly three miles of beach between Weko Beach and Warren Dunes State Park.
Students attend Bridgman Elementary, F.C. Reed Middle School and Bridgman High School.